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Spy-proof apps are the new must have

Privacy is once again a hot topic of conversation in the social sphere, following the recent PRISM scandal and Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s social media snooping. And while the general, sweeping defence for such activity is “if you don’t want people to know what you’re doing, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it”, developers are striking back by incorporating more sophisticated encryption technology into apps such as Wickr, iCrypt, Cryptocat, Text Secure and Silent Circle.

Silent Circle is a subscription service which substitutes a smartphone’s messaging and calling functionality with an encrypted alternative, enabling users to send texts, make calls and even videoconference without worrying that someone might be listening in. Creator Phillip Zimmerman believes that making encryption technology user-friendly is key to the success of this burgeoning market. “Not everyone is a crypto geek,” he says, “and so there is a need to curate the experience.”

The latest in this trend is, a new private messaging service from Peter Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay. The crowd-funded app is named for the Swedish word for secret, and offers end-to-end encryption which guarantees that the content of messages cannot be intercepted by any third party, governmental or otherwise. “We’ve decided to build a messaging platform where no one can spy on you, not even us,” says Sunde.

“We love the internet, social networks and the power it gives for sharing and social connections,” explain the team on the official website. “What we don’t love though is that private communication has more or less turned into an open stream for companies and governments to listen into.”

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